The NFL has made drastic changes to the Pro Bowl format this year, highlighted by a two-day draft event that will create the rosters. No more AFC vs. NFC, but 88 players that will be split up into two teams coached by Hall of Famers Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice.
Now that the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks have advanced to the Super Bowl, all of the replacements have been announced. Jesse Reed of Bleacher Report compiled an updated list of rosters following championship weekend.
A coin flip on Tuesday will get things started with the winner having his choice at two options: the No. 1 overall pick in Tuesday and Wednesday's drafts or his choice of the team captains. This year, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and St. Louis Rams defensive end Robert Quinn will make one captain duo, while Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles and Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt form the other.
Tuesday's coin flip and draft will take place in the afternoon and be televised later on the NFL Network, as it only features 22 interior linemen, fullbacks and special teamers. But the main event takes place on live TV Wednesday (8 p.m. ET, NFL Network) when the other players and position groups are settled. NFL.com has a full rundown of the new fantasy-style draft for 2014.
All of the players are top-notch in a showcase like this, but here's a look at some of the lesser-known Pro Bowlers who can have a big impact for Sanders and Rice for Sunday's contest (7 p.m ET, NBC).
DT Kyle Williams, Buffalo Bills
Playing in Buffalo with a common name hasn't done much to help Kyle Williams' popularity, but that doesn't take away from his production on the Bills' menacing defensive line. You could argue that Williams is just as valuable as his Pro Bowl partner in crime, Mario Williams, especially given his rise in quarterback takedowns in 2013.
Kyle Williams has long been valued as one of the most versatile defensive linemen in the game, but he racked up a career-high 10.5 sacks this season as part of his 68 total tackles. There are few guys in the league who can be effective against the run and the pass in the trenches like Kyle Williams, who has reached this third Pro Bowl in the past four years.
FB Marcel Reece, Oakland Raiders
Marcel Reece is a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses as the premier pass-catching fullback in the league. He's usually locked up against linebackers out of the backfield, in the slot or even out wide, and he has the ability to burn by them with his speed. Listed at 6'1", 255 pounds, Reece was a receiver at Washington before becoming Darren McFadden's sidekick in the Oakland backfield.
It sounds like Sanders has his eye on Reece, given a recent Twitter interaction, but Rice knows good hands when he sees them.
If the Raiders didn't have such instability at the quarterback position the last few years, Reece would undoubtedly have some bigger numbers to show for it. Reporters also often asked the Oakland coaching staff about using Reece more throughout the season. As it was, he finished the regular season with 32 catches for 331 yards and two touchdowns, along with 218 rushing yards and two more scores.
CB Brent Grimes, Miami Dolphins
With the amount of talent at wide receiver in this game, you need a shutdown cornerback like Brent Grimes. He proved to be a fruitful signing for the Dolphins after spending the first six years of his career with the Atlanta Falcons.
Grimes, who also made the Pro Bowl in 2010, totaled 16 pass breakups, four interceptions and 60 tackles during the regular season. Most importantly, he didn't allow a single passing touchdown all year, according to Pro Football Focus. At 5'10", 190 pounds, Grimes will have his hands full with the host of tall receivers on the field, but he's been able to hold his own against everyone this season.
WR Alshon Jeffery
Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall will form the first pair of Bears wideouts to ever play in the Pro Bowl, per Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times. Like his veteran teammate, Jeffery emerged as a big target and big-play threat in his second season out of South Carolina, totaling 89 catches for 1,421 yards and seven scores.
Jeffery was a regular on the highlight reels with his catches throughout the season and deserved the replacement call-up when Calvin Johnson bowed out due to injury. Listed at 6'3", 216 pounds, Jeffery can be just as dangerous as other big-bodied wideouts like Marshall, A.J. Green and Dez Bryant.
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